It can sometimes be difficult to keep up with children’s interests, especially when it comes to movies and TV shows, video games, and social media posts.
As they finished third and second grade last spring, my son and daughter were playing Minecraft and watching “How to Train Your Dragon” as much as they could in their spare time.
Then it was summer day camp (with a different mix of kids) and suddenly every conversation seemed to be about “Messenger Kids” and “Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous”.
Now that fourth and third grade have started, I can only guess what new show or game they’ll hear from a classmate or friend.
When our kids ask to watch a certain movie or show, listen to a song they heard at camp, or play a new video game, sometimes we have to tell them to wait a bit.
First, adults need to do a bit of research and familiarize themselves with what they are getting into.
A movie about the teenage offspring of famous Disney villains? Great.
A YouTube video showing how someone recreated “Squid Game” in Minecraft? It’s a little too dark.
In the middle of summer this year, my daughter and I had a major disagreement over a zombie movie. You’re way too young for zombie movies, I told him.
She ended up convincing me to watch the trailer. These zombies, to my surprise, sang and danced and attended high school with their friends; she has to watch the movie.
It’s natural, I imagine, for kids in this age group to go through a series of passionate but temporary obsessions with various games, shows, or characters.
After all, I remember having hour-long conversations with my young peers about “He-Man” episodes and strategies for beating the Super Mario Bros. game. and which Transformers were the coolest.
So when our kids come home talking about an awesome game or a show they want to see, I wait until everyone is in bed and watch it for myself. More recently the request was to play Roblox, and it nearly broke me.
Roblox, apparently, is not a game, but rather a platform where people can create, share, and play their own games. What do you want to do, I asked my dear children. Are you video game designers now?
No, they said, they wanted to play Roblox; all their friends were playing it!
But what game, I wanted to know. There are hundreds!
Exactly, they said!
I wasn’t so sure.
One night I picked a random Roblox game and started playing. It was not bad; in fact, it was quite interesting.
I had to build my own amusement park, adding everything from rides to pizza stands, toilets to trash cans.
The kids were thrilled the next morning when I gave them the green light. They were impressed when I showed them the little amusement park I had built.
A few weeks later, they were even more impressed when I showed them my finished amusement park, which had been awarded five stars.
I don’t care to share how many hours of sleep I’ve lost playing this game. I can only hope that the next thing kids fall in love with isn’t so addictive to me.